Study Recommends Lowering Blood Pressure Targets
New results from a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute study suggests that lowering the blood pressure targets now used by doctors could greatly reduce heart problems for people over 50.
In the study, researchers found that by aiming for a systolic value of 120 instead of 140, patients reduced rate of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure by almost 33 percent and risk of death by almost 25 percent.
The study took place between 2010 and 2013, and included 9,300 hypertension patients who used combined medications to reduce systolic heart pressure. With an average age of 68, a quarter of the patients were over 75 and had a higher risk of heart disease, or had kidney disease. The “intensive” group, those aiming for a systolic pressure level of 120, took three medications on average, while those who aimed for a 140 pressure reading took an average of two medications.
Currently, physicians recommend patients aim for a blood pressure reading of 140/90 as a common target. However, experts now say aiming for a 120/80 value is a better target.
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